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When Is There a Good Time to "Switch" to Apple? 323

Posted by Cliff
from the best-time-to-hop-on-the-bandwagon dept.
AllNines asks: "With all the hype of MacWorld and the compelling keynote given by Steve Jobs about the upcoming Tiger and Spotlight, I am thinking about 'switching' (Linux user since '97) but I am not sure the time is right. It seems like the PowerBooks are getting very long in the tooth and the iPods are due for a major rev. When is the right time to jump on the Apple ship? Am I going to get burned by a sluggish overpriced laptop that is updated next month?"
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When Is There a Good Time to "Switch" to Apple?

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  • Mac Buyer's Guide (Score:5, Informative)

    by dendoes (633894) on Friday January 28, 2005 @05:36AM (#11501484)
  • maybe next week... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mehu (92260)
    If you believe Think Secret [thinksecret.com] (page bottom), the powerbooks will be upgraded next week, since the current stock is completely out. I've been looking into one for a while now, and am waiting 'til at least Tuesday. I'm not expecting G5 laptops or Tiger until at least summer, and even then they'll be way more expensive than I'm planning on spending. If nothing happens next week, though, who knows when it will. It all depends on how long you can wait.
    • The only problem with that is even if they are released next week you'll have to wait 3 months to get one. Then you have the risk of the iBook problems (bad mobo) or the initial Aluminium Powerbooks with white spots and a recall on all the screens. As I recall there were heat problems with the 800MHz Ti Powerbooks as well (very hot).

      If I were you I'd buy an inexpensive iBook and see if you like it. If you do sell it on eBay (they hold value very well, especially if you keep everything that came with it, bo
    • by njfuzzy (734116) <(moc.x-nai) (ta) (nai)> on Friday January 28, 2005 @11:41AM (#11503730) Homepage
      The PowerBook G5 has been slated for "Next Tuesday" since almost a year ago.
  • No matter what brand you buy or what arch, there will always be another new model around the corner.

    But, at least here in Iceland the Mac's hold their reselling price alot better then all the rest.

    All that aside.......i'd go for the switch, i've tried alot of OS'es and arch's but it's no contest...my beloved 12" PowerBook is the best yet.
  • by nafrance (66955) on Friday January 28, 2005 @05:40AM (#11501501)
    I had a similar problem a while back - I jumped in and bought my 12" PB just before they speed-bumped it.
    To be honest, it hasn't made too much difference, it's still far and away the best laptop I've ever used. Just get enough RAM!!

    The thing is really, there isn't ever a 'best' time to buy anything like this. Look at the PC market - we have new motherboards, cpu's etc. coming out all the time.
    At least with Apple its fairly regular that they do major updates, usually at MacWorld time!

    I think the best time will be very soon. Wait till they release Tiger, and start shipping it on the Minis (or just get one and pay for the upgrade).
    The Mini is the cheapest Mac available, and you can re-use all your old monitor/mouse/keyboard etc. Hell, even if you dont like it as a proper desktop, there's still the media-centre/server thing everyone seems keen to turn these babies into.....

    • Just get enough RAM!!
      ... and don't buy RAM from Apple. Way too over priced. Just buy it from your local computer chop shop. I would just make sure it named brand and warrenteed.

  • My advice? Wait... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mark Hood (1630) on Friday January 28, 2005 @05:41AM (#11501505) Homepage
    The best time to buy Apple hardware is a week after they introduce new equipment... That gives you the longest time between your purchase and the replacement coming out. The week gives you time to check the early adopter's trouble reports too :) Always check the rumour sites, or you'll do as a friend of mine did, and buy a 30GB iPod a week before the 40GB appeared for the same price.

    Friends of mine who bought the first model of any product line (G3 towers, Powerbooks, etc) find they get all the teething problems associated with a new release, so if you can, wait for the second revision of anything.

    So if you want a Powerbook, check the rumour sites - they are all estimating Q2 shipping. This would suggest a revision anything up to 6 months later (usually just a speed bump, but they tend to iron out the wrinkles too).

    If you can't wait that long, buy one now - they're still great machines, even if they're superceded next week!

    Following this advice I got a 30GB iPod when it was new (the 2nd rev of the 3G series) and the 17" 1GHz iMac (first of the widescreen ones, but not the first flatscreen), both of which have never given me a day's trouble.

    Mark
    • Revisions of the Powerbook line are expected in a matter of weeks. The current models have been end of lined and stocks are depleting.

      The upcoming Powerbook revisions aren't expected to be G5s, but will have speed boosts, graphics boosts, and a few other rumoured upgrades.
      • Yes, it might be better to wait and also the new update to OS X "Tiger" is expected around the end of March. You don't have to get the OS update 100% right, since they usually give them out for free to people who bought a new Mac few weeks before the OS update.

        I'm just waiting for Tiger and then I'll try using a mac (after 7 years of running Linux on laptops... I don't have all the time to fiddle with things anymore).

        P.S. check out oroborosx.sourceforge.net/ if you want to run X windows apps on your Mac.
        • Good point, wait for the new OS version, and save $150!

          The 'up to date' program usually only applies to people who buy hardware after the OS in announced but before it ships...
    • by bitingduck (810730) on Friday January 28, 2005 @12:28PM (#11504290) Homepage
      I tend to buy my apple stuff right after they introduce new stuff, but I snag the old stuff at steep discounts.

      I use an 800 MHz TiBook at home that I got as a refurb about a month after the faster ones came out. I got it because it would still boot into OS9 for some legacy stuff, and had a graphics card that works with an old game that I was addicted to.

      I use a 1 GHz TiBook at work that I got a while later, and I honestly don't notice any real difference between the two machines' performance (and I use both daily).

      I also have some sort of high end WinXP "workstation" at work that I use for running FEM software (and really not much else). It's only a few months old, so it really screams, but because I trust windows so little, I don't use it for much else. It solves transient models really fast though, and the most significant thing about it is that it's really quiet, despite the speed. I've heard older machines that sound like a jet landing in your office.
  • Good question (Score:5, Informative)

    by theolein (316044) on Friday January 28, 2005 @05:41AM (#11501507) Journal
    It's not that easy to answer. Generally, the only way to have any idea of when Apple will be releasing new hardware is by following the rumour sites (Thinksecret, Appleinsider etc) and using large pinches of salt. Of those, Thinksecret, the one with the best record on accuracy, is being sued by Apple, so the chances of their being "in the know", in future are slim.

    The register is no good as they make all sorts of wild claims which almost never come true.

    Usually Apple releases new hard- and software on two regular occasions: Macworld (just past, this january) and the Mac developer conference, in the middle of the year. Buying a new Mac just before then is usually not the best of ideas.

    The only way to do this, if you're seriously interested in wasting a lot of time, is to spend time on the Appleinsider forums, noting occasional leaks before Apple C and D's them, and keeping up with current industry trends.

    That means, at present: The chances of an Apple G5 Powerbook being released soon are very slim, as far as I can see. The chances that Apple will first release upgraded G4 Powerbooks with the new Motorola G4 and "Freescale" processors is much higher, since those would take the G4 above 1,5GHz.

    If you have the patience, wait until the developers conference is over in the middle of the year. I'm sure Apple will have announced something by then.
  • Any time really! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Gumph (706694)
    My first answer would be wait until 'Tiger' comes out, that way you will more than likely get Panther installed on the box and Tiger on CDs. At least that is what happened when I bought my Imac last year (cept of course it was Jaguar-Panther). I got two Oses for the price of one. Bargain.
    on the flip side of that, you may as well upgrade now as every day on windows is a day when your PC can crash and die and get infected with malware etc etc. (Bit dramatic I know, but hey that is what too much time spe
  • Do you mean... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pdoucy (651123) on Friday January 28, 2005 @05:48AM (#11501533)
    ...that a laptop becomes sluggish the very moment the next revision comes out ? I didn't know about that, and my 3 year old iBook doesn't know either.
    As usual when you want to buy a computer (or quite anything technology-related), you have to know what you need, and jump and buy it... Of course it will become outdated shortly, but do you really need the new one ?
  • It depends on what you do with your computer. I would say that any model out there today runs well enough for web-browsing, e-mail and word processing. If that's all you do, there is no need to wait for better machines. I'm typing this on a two year old G4 laptop, and in spite of the fact that I have enough money, I can see no excuse to upgrade to a faster model.

    If you do (or intend to do) a lot of editing of big images or video editing or compiling big applications, then you are probably more concerned wi

    • by gl4ss (559668)
      but if all he does is web-browsing, email and word processing surely he could just keep his current linux box and spend the grand of dough on hookers and have more ROI?

      he's maybe trying to figure when would be the time to buy a mac so that it would not sink in $$$ value instantly after a week(or just a mac guy pimping in drag).
  • i just switched (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ralinx (305484) <ralinx@gmail.com> on Friday January 28, 2005 @06:05AM (#11501594)
    My iMac G5 arrived yesterday. I haven't had much time to play around with it but so far i'm very impressed with it. OS X is a bit weird at first, but after a short while you'll feel very comfortable with it.

    You're probably gonna get a lot of "wait for the new product announcements" or "wait for Tiger" comments, but seriously, why should you wait? New products might be announced next week... maybe the week after that, maybe the month after that, hell you might end up waiting until June. Or you could just buy one now, and you'll be sure that whatever you buy will most likely still run the latest versions of OS X and other software in 4 years time.
    • OS X is a bit weird at first

      "Weird" is in the eye of the beholder. I find its ifconfig less weird than Linux's, for example,, but that's because I used BSD-derived versions of ifconfig, which is what most UN*Xes use.

      I.e., for any given pair of UN*Xes X and Y, there's probably something in Y that users of X will find weird. You can substitute "Linux", "FreeBSD", "NetBSD", "OpenBSD", "DragonflyBSD", "Solaris", "AIX", "HP-UX", "OS X", etc. for "X" and "Y" - and you can probably even substitute particular L

      • ifconfig warning (Score:5, Informative)

        by porkchop_d_clown (39923) <mwheinz@[ ]com ['me.' in gap]> on Friday January 28, 2005 @09:33AM (#11502448) Homepage
        Careful with that.

        Because Mac OS X uses the netinfo database for a lot of config data, doing things like ifconfig by hand (even modifying the /etc/ files directly) can lead to inconsistent results.

        Use system preferences and the net info manager wherever possible. There are command line variants for most of them, but they aren't well documented.

        I'm not saying don't use ifconfig - just be sure you know what you're doing.
  • by GreatDrok (684119) on Friday January 28, 2005 @06:12AM (#11501621) Journal
    I have been a UNIX user since 1990, Linux since 1994 and I got my first Mac just over a year ago when the G4 iBook appeared. The main reason I bought the Mac is that I use my laptop for almost everything I do, it is my portable office, and I decided to give Apple a chance after my third Intel based laptop in as many years keeled over.

    I always ran Linux on my laptops and with a bit of care an x86 laptop for Linux is a great tool but to get the best compatiblity I couldn't really go for the budget machines and ended up spending £1500 last time on a Toshiba. It was dead after a year. The surface finish (silver paint) rubbed off and scratched, the case cracked and chipped, the battery stopped holding any charge (just after the guarantee ran out) and the backlight died. The Mac was £500 less, and with OS X, the OS it was designed for, it is more than powerful enough.

    Learning to use OS X has taken a bit of time but I have made a decision that my next desktop machine will also be a Mac because I love the UNIX base, the interface, the fact I can use X11 apps too. I also like having the menu bar at the top and also like the dock. Some others in the Mac community laugh at me because I do my development using vi in an xterm but what they hey, it works for me! At least I have syntax colouring turned on :-)

    The hardware is well made, it has already outlasted my last three x86 laptops and shows no signs of failing. It doesn't run hot, the battery life is excellent, the performance is also good. Having played with the new iMac G5 I can't say I notice it being blazingly faster than my 933Mhz G4 so I think the desire to jump into a G5 laptop is misplaced, the G4 is still a pretty good chip and excellent for mobile applications. Sticking a G5 in is going to increase the heat output, shorten battery life and probably not really increase performance all that much. Just get a lot of RAM for the Mac, I have 640MB in mine and that makes it a very smooth experience.

    Would I run Linux on my Mac? Possibly, but to be honest I like OS X, I like the fact that most open source software is also available for the Mac. Sometimes I choose to use the Mac native app, other times I use open source. I like NeoOffice but have MS Office X too. When NeoOffice becomes fully aqua (widgets and all) then I will use it all the time. I certainly won't be buying another copy of MS Office, I'll just keep the one I have for compatiblity but do new docs in NeoOffice. Firefox is better than Safari. I tried using Safari but the slow page rendering annoyed me so I switched back. I have changed from Thunderbird to Apple Mail which I like a lot.

    All in all, I think there is a lot to be said for the Mac. Does it mean I don't like Linux? No, I still have a Linux desktop (at least until my next machine) and I will keep Linux on my servers and continue to use open source apps on my Mac.
  • I'm sure it's not the only reason that you want a Mac, but Beagle is quite similar to Spotlight and likely to be realeased at a similar time...

    http://www.gnome.org/projects/beagle/
  • by NZheretic (23872) on Friday January 28, 2005 @06:59AM (#11501792) Homepage Journal
    I have been looking at a friend's Mac Mini, and if it has 512 Meg of memory installed, it is a suitable replacement for Win9x/NT/Win2K and XP for a business desktop for the next five to seven year hardware upgrade cycle. However, IT management wise, there is no real signifcant advantage to deploying Mac Mini as networked desktops in bulk, incomparison to switching most the existing hardware over to a combination of diskless thin and slim ( running most programs on the client ) systems running Linux.

    If Apple were to introduce a Mini like diskless slim client, it would probably blow both Windows and Linux away. The diskless Mac "Metro" clients would connect via Gigabit ethernet to a Mac "Metro" Station, the latter performing the role of a raided iSCSI/Fileserver with an inbuilt network switch to directly connect each client.

    Sample Mac "Metro" client specs:
    Using the Mac Mini as a starting point
    Ditch the DVD and Hard drives,
    Make one to two Gigabtyes memory as standard,
    Upgrade the 100/10 Mib network to 1Gig,
    Boot using PXE,
    Run all programs on the client in ram, using iSCSI read only access for a common system partition, and dedicated zones server side for each client for swap and read write disk space,
    Cheap price, these diskless systems should be well under $100 US

    Mac "Metro" "Station" specs:
    Combination fileserver and high speed network switch,
    Sell four, eight to forty eight ( plus one/two uplink ) port variants, each can support the same number of Metro clients that connect to their own dedicated port,
    Raid array as standard, scaled to the number of clients supported,
    Filesystem versioning ( Revision tracking and control ) as standard for all document directories and intergrity checking for all filesystems,
    A DVD R/W ( or better ) drive for upgrade nd backups.

    At a low/suitable per client price, such a system could blow Microsoft out of the business desktop market.

  • by idlake (850372)
    Whether it's a "good time" depends on your needs. Do you need a laptop, a web browser, and MS Office, but little more? The mac is the machine for you. Do you need a particular commercial software package that runs on mac and windows only? Buy a mac.

    Other than that, don't expect too much: macs have their share of installation and management problems, the hardware is pokey, and battery life of the laptops is not competitive anymore either. Fink is supposed to give you many linux packages, but linux soft
  • this Tuesday if the rumor sites are correct(probably nothing major like a g5 powerbook, but a g4 speed boost more than likely, though they are pushing the limits of that chip). I personally would wait until at least next Tuesday to make the decision. If new powerbooks don't come out, you may just be better off with a top of the line iBook. The price difference is too great as it stands for the bit of extra power you get with a powerbook(unless you like big screens, the iBook max rex is 1024x768)
    I think
  • by technogogo (708973) on Friday January 28, 2005 @07:45AM (#11501969)
    I just got a bottom of the range iBook. It was for my wife who wanted a cheap laptop for email and surfing. We already had 3 PC's in the house - main one and kids have one each. I built these PCs myself. I also run Linux and have 15yrs IT experience (unix sys admin.)

    Basically did not want another XP system in the house. I spend too much time updating XP, zonealarm, adaware, spybot etc etc etc etc on the 3 existing PCs. Then checking no nasties have sneaked past. Simply did not want a forth system to hassle me.

    I did consider a cheap laptop with Linux but the windows tax put me off. Also from playing with employers laptops and linux I know that not everything works - like power management - without tinkering. I know how to fix that kind of thing but did not want to have to, if that makes sense.

    For my wife I wanted a simple appliance. Zero admin overhead. The iBook fitted the bill. All I can say is that it is fantastic. Its only the 12inch lowest spec (with a 60Gb drive.) Not even put extra memory in it yet. But its plenty fast enough for everyday use. Battery life is amazing. The iLife programs are a lot of fun. No registry. Whole apps are single files. Not files spewed all over the system. Mac OS has proper multi-user with fine user privilege controls. So no worries about the kids accidently resetting the wep key - even if they are using an admin account (it prompts to re-enter passwd.) Lots of interesting and useful features that are so easy to find. I felt at home with Mac OS immediately. I was pleasantly surprised to find there is no shortage of software out there - for example, I found a great DVD ripper within 5mins of looking. I love it. Now we fight over who gets to use the iBook! I did not expect to be even using it.

    • Whole apps are single files

      FYI, those are actually directories. The finder just makes it appear as a single file. To look inside control-click on the app and select "Show Package Contents".

  • by rollthelosindice (635783) on Friday January 28, 2005 @07:56AM (#11502014) Homepage
    It is a real testament to the progress that Apple has made in the past few years that a post like this could be made and digested as accurate. Let's look into things....

    iPods are only about 3 years old. They have had multiple generations already with different wheels, button configurations, and improvements. Why would they be in need of a MAJOR revision? Probably because in such a short amount of time they have achieved HUGE market penetration and its hard to image what life was like with those crappy pre-iPod mp3 players. What other product has had so much success in such a short amount of time? Perhaps sliced bread... Powerbooks are getting long in the tooth? Do you mean just the fact that they still use a G4 or the design? The current model of Powerbook was introduced 2 superbowls ago, IIRC, replacing the titanium models. Do you want a G5 laptop? Well you'll have to wait. Intel doesn't launch a new processor and have a laptop immediately available. Why should the expectations be different for Apple/IBM. Speaking of IBM, has the thinkpad design changed drastically at all over the past TEN years? Maybe a little lighter, but I would say that laptop is much longer in the tooth.

    Now, how about the fact that you are considering migrating from linux and an MP3 player is one of your major deciding factors. Who deserves that credit? Would you be paining over a Creative 64MB rio mp3 player?

    Apple has changed the way people consider their computers and accessories so much over the past 3-5 years, that sometimes people lose track of time and perspective. If you want to migrate to apple here is my advice. Do it today. If it doesn't go well, you can go back immediately. That way you won't lose another night sleep pondering what life would be like in OS X vs. KDE/GNOME (yes I know OS X runs X11, I use it.)

  • by ctar (211926)
    Personally, I made the same switch in May of 2004 - it was the perfect time for me. OSX had become much better as version 10.3 - OSX allows me to keep from completely losing my unix skills - and the app I use for work started providing a Citrix solution over the web, which worked flawlessly within Safari. And, the powerbooks had just had a drop in price for the G4's.

    I'd read the previous Slashdot story, where it suggests the G5 laptops will come out soon. Usually, Apple will upgrade specs, but keep prices
  • ...if you want a Mac desktop.

    however, even if you are in a laptop market, it's never a bad time to switch, i think. next-gen PB will be a speed bump, most likely. rumored dual-core G4 or G5 are highly unlikely, and even without those, i wouldn't call current PBs "sluggish." i have a two year old PB - 867 MHz G4. it's been doing great because CPU speed is one thing but OS X is quite another. (the difference, however, will be perhaps less "shocking" for you since you use linux, not windows.)

    if you were th

  • Wait for Tiger (Score:2, Interesting)

    Waiting for Tiger will give you a good chance to see if they are updating any of their hardware systems soon as Apple usually makes various boosts to other products along with major releases. Even if hardware updates aren't in close sight, Tiger has a lot of promising features and it's nice to stay up-to-date on an OS without having to pay for it. If you are really worried about loosing a chance at a top of the line machine, buy a refurbished one. Recent Macs have excellent resale value and you can be sure
  • The simple truth is that hardware and software will always get faster and cheaper, so don't upgrade until there's something you need to do that your current syhstem just can't handle. And then don't look at the adds for 2 months, or you'll wind up feeling bad! (:
  • Why would this be a post of a "Linux" user switching? This, like many articles on slashdot since Ballmer beat his chest about attacking the OSS community where it lives (uhum... here?) looks to me like a psychologically tuned meme designed to undermine Linux users' pride in their choices...

    Let's stick to windows users switching to OS X. We all know that Linux users love it too, but it is highly unlikely that they would "switch" - just buy a mini or a laptop to augment their collection of hardware.
    • Actually most of the people I know who switched to OSX are hard core Linux/Unix users.

      Better power management for laptops (Linux's power management is still a sad joke), a unix OS with a nice consistent GUI AND the ability to run X11 apps, and a larger selection of quality commercial software available (if or your workplace are in to that kind of thing) are all pretty good reasons to consider the switch.

      I still have a Linux desktop but I will probably never go back to a Lintel laptop.

      Finkployd
    • looks to me like a psychologically tuned meme designed to undermine Linux users' pride in their choices...

      You think Microsoft's strategy is to sow doubt in the minds of Slashdot readers? I really doubt MS is quite that desperate.

      And you wanna hear a psychologically tuned meme to sway slashdotters to OS X? Okay, here's one:

      "I have never once had to edit a config file, look at a command line window (unless I wanted to) or search the Net for drivers."

      As for your question, AllNines, you outta at least wait
  • how many people decide to ask Slashdot these tpyes of questions, rather than do any research themselves.

    Not that there won't be some good replies to this question, but who do you want controlling your financial decisions? Yourself, based on research, and personal needs/wants, or a bunch of nameless people who really have no incentive to give you accurate and unbiased information?

    Again, I'm not saying that there won't be any good responses or anything, but it seems that these "what should I do" questio
  • switcher!!!! (Score:2, Informative)

    by s/nemisis (7175)
    I switched to an iBook G4 1GHz back in August 04. I got my ibook about 5 weeks before they were upped to 1.2GHz. Will i notice that 200MHz? nope. hell my printer probably has a 200MHz processor in it. I won't miss it. I can tell you that i would have missed this iBook. I've run Debian, RH, windows 2k, xp, 98, 95, 3.1(1), and I use a lot of different systems and operating systems at UM and i can tell you that this was the best purchase i've ever made. I'm actually happy that my dell laptop died and m
  • On Switching (Score:5, Insightful)

    by droleary (47999) on Friday January 28, 2005 @09:10AM (#11502315) Homepage

    When is the right time to jump on the Apple ship?

    In general, the time to switch platforms in any direction is when you've finally got everything running smoothly on your current platform of choice after some major disaster. I'm sure that seems illogical at first, but it stems from the fact that you do not want to switch when you're in the middle of an emergency. If things have always been smooth, there's no need to switch at all. If things are becoming a reoccurring mess, resolve to switch, but then still clean up the current mess! It'll make the switch that much easier when you're not trying to transition all the mission critical stuff a once.

    Am I going to get burned by a sluggish overpriced laptop that is updated next month?

    Only if you're a fucking idiot. If you think a Mac is sluggish today, why the hell would you buy it? It doesn't matter if a vendor is updating their systems next week or next year. Either what they're offering today meets your needs or it doesn't, and if it doesn't and you still buy it, then you should probably be fired (or beaten by friends and family). The march of technology still guarantees any purchase you make is an expense, not an investment. Stop pretending you can wait to "buy low" because you will never, ever be able to "sell high".

  • Maybe soon. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by PythonRules (166738)
    If you are dead set on a laptop then you should wait. Buying a G4 just doesn't make a ton of sense to me right now. But for a little perspective lets look at the big picture and take it from there.

    By the end of '05 we will see the extension of Apple into the movie distribution business. Think NetFlix without the mailers. All you will really need for this is a Mac Mini next to your HDTV either on a ethernet wire or connected wirelessly. Buying a Mac Mini now and learning the ropes of OS X and the iLife apps
  • NOW (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mosb1000 (710161) <mosb1000@mac.com> on Friday January 28, 2005 @09:52AM (#11502606)
    I forget which rumor site says it, but the best time to buy a computer that fits your needs now is now. I don't see any reason not to buy today. Products scale incrementally except for processor change like G4-G5, which don't come along very often. Even if Apple released a G5 PowerBook today, it'd be better to wait a few months for Apple to work out the issues. They won't leave you out in the cold if you buy a computer with problems, but it's annoying to have to get it repaired, even if you don't have to pay for it.

    I find that it's best to wait until a product comes along that makes you want to upgrade. Anticipating specific future products leads to long waits and disappointment when the final product isn't what you expect. If the PowerBook is compelling to you now, you should buy it now. You won't regret it. If it's not, then wait until Apple releases something you want to buy (if you're waiting for a PowerBook G5 specifically, you could be waiting a long time).
  • The Mac mini makes it very cost effective to switch... see sig for details.
  • if you're looking for a really solid system which will last you for quite some time, the answer is "now". Apple hardware remains useful for a good stretch longer than hardware in the PC world. anything you buy new from Apple today will still be totally respectable two years from now, and still comfortable well beyond that. that aside, Apple is always "about" to come out with some great new something-or-other [aboyandhiscomputer.com]. that's the thing, that's why people love Apple: they actually continually innovate. they're always
  • When you buy your exquipment, the best advice is not to look and second-guess. There will be someting better/cheaper coming out soon, there always is. So what?

    Don't buy it then scour the web for new stuff/ better prices for the next few months, you'll drive yourself nuts..

    If the equipment does what you need when you buy it you'll be happy with it.

    We have an old 600mhz ibook that keeps running. It does what it did when we bought it. Very light usefull machine for surfing, video playing, even coding.

    One
  • by lpangelrob2 (721920) on Friday January 28, 2005 @10:44AM (#11503161) Journal
    I suppose there's two camps you can go with here.

    First, my parents. They have a Sony VAIO (poor unfortuante souls) that they don't really know how to maintain. They run IE, despite my putting Firefox on it, and some version of Windows XP, which I haven't updated since I haven't been home since I got married. All I've heard about it are complaints that it runs extremely slowly, which is odd for a 1.66 GHz processor running the OS it came with. So it's probably spyware-laden, and possibly virus-laden. They should switch ASAP.

    For anyone that has any inkling of how to run and maintain a computer, which would any of the people reading this... getting older models right after the newer ones come out would be a good idea, just as it's a better value for your money to purchase a manufacturer-certified 1-year old used car instead of a brand new one. That is an entirely economic decision that's based on your needs and the weight of your wallet. :-)

  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Friday January 28, 2005 @10:50AM (#11503221) Homepage
    Every computer company and technology progresses. They all introduce new products at six month intervals or thereabouts. There is no exactly right time.

    This is a case where the marketplace actually sort of does operate, and is reflected in the street prices of the gear you buy. If you wait for the hot new product and buy it immediately, you'll find that you will likely a) pay full list price, b) experience unpredictable but significant and annoying shipping delays--including changes in promised ship dates, and c) suffer from various teething pains in the first run of the product.

    Those teething pains can vary from serious (high failure rates and product recalls) to cosmetic (Apple Cube "cracks") to trivial but still annoying (on a G5 Tower purchased immediately when first available, when the CD ejects it sounds cheap and clunky and you have the feeling that the door-opening mechanism may fail--although it hasn't yet. They made some kind of improvement and later models are much smoother and confidence-inspiring... that sort of thing...)

    Meanwhile, in the runup to the new product introduction everyone is trying to clear out old inventory, and you can get a fire-sale price and all sorts of deals with "free" extra RAM and bundled printers and so forth.

    When you buy in is a personal matter, but the actual price you pay and the deal you get tend to reflect the marketplace judgement of the current value of the gear.

    If you're waiting, that means you don't have enough money to just buy a new computer every year or so. Personally, I get at least four years out every computer. Four years from now, your computer is going to be four years old. Depending on how clever you are about jumping in just after the leap in technology, it may feel like it is effectively three-and-a-half years old or four-and-a-half years old. It doesn't really matter.

    Besides, over the last ten years an amazing thing has happened: performance has been levelling off AND hardware has started catching up to software. These days, you can spend a thousand bucks and get "enough." Whatever enough means. I use a 1.8 GHz G5 at work. My home machine is a 400 MHz G4. Is there a difference in speed? Sure. Is my home machine "fast enough?" Yes.
  • by raider_red (156642) on Friday January 28, 2005 @12:33PM (#11504352) Journal
    I switched to an Apple at the beginning of September. The tipping point was when I figured out that the ammount of time I was spending in maintaining my Windows and Linux boxes exceeded the amount of time I was spending doing real work with them. I've got several entries in my Slashdot jouranl about my early experiences with my PowerBook. I had one glitch when I unboxed the thing, and that's it.

    The verdict so far: it just works. I have MS Office for the Mac installed, so I have compatibility with the office computers. I put Apple's development suite on the machine, so I'm able to write software. (I'd recommend getting the "Building Cocoa Applications" book off of eBay.) Most of the Linux programs I used have OS X ports, and I don't have to fuss with keeping the system running. I can also count the number of system crashes I've had so far on one hand.
  • by javaxman (705658) on Friday January 28, 2005 @01:49PM (#11505259) Journal
    When Is There a Good Time to "Switch" to Apple?

    Well... actually, I guess it depends on what you mean. I find it's a *little* odd that so many people ask this question, since it is like any other hardware purchase: you know for a fact that what you buy today will become obsolete in a remarkably quick timeframe. Even if it doesn't become obsolete, you'll be able to buy your same hardware for less money, again in a remarkably quick timeframe.

    With the quick devaluation of hardware as a given, I understand what the question is about: how do I avoid the pain of buying hardware right before an update is announced ? Other than buying right after an announcement ( which presents the possible pain of buying before a price drop, of course ), there's no *really* good way to know what Apple has ready to go.

    I understand the PC user's issue with that- usually you see Intel or AMD is announcing a new chip or chipset, etc, well before you can buy a PC with those parts, but you don't have quite the same clues with Apple. Sure, maybe IBM is developing a new chip, but will Apple use it? You almost never know.

    Maybe think about it like you think about getting a new graphics card... then realize, you either just take your chances and buy what you need or can afford, or don't buy something that hasn't been updated in a while, or buy only after something's announced. Take your pick from one of those three methods.

    Right now, I wouldn't buy a PowerBook ( unless I just have plenty of spare cash ), I'd wait, those are due for an update. I _would_ buy a dual G5. Or a iMac G5. Or, if I wanted a small, simple machine, had a monitor, and wasn't editing DV, I'd get a Mac mini. I would consider getting an iBook- they're actually a damn good deal right now, and were updated not long ago.

    But really, is there a good time to NOT switch?

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